WWDC '15: First Impressions

Today was WWDC, one of my favourite days of the year. You get to see all the new features coming to iOS/OS X and now watch OS. Some first impressions:

 

Mac

  • Mac OS X ‘El Capitan’: Not a fan of the name. (They did miss a chance to partner with Captain Morgan.)
  • Spotlight Improvements: Could be big but Alfred is already better in most ways. We will have to see how improved Spotlight is.
  • Window Management: Handy, should have been here years ago. I have used Better Touch Tool for this for years.
  • Metal on Mac: Good for people using Adobe stuff/gamers.
  • No Siri for the Mac: Once again, very disappointing. This seems like a no brainer with the new natural language search support.
  • Tab Pinning: Awesome, can’t wait. I have a couple tabs always open that would be perfect for this.
  • Mute from anywhere: Glad to see someone finally do this. I had this idea years ago. (When autoplaying videos were a bigger problem.)
  • No big improvements here: Looks like we got our “Snow Leopard” year. Glad to see it come.
 

iOS

  • Siri Proactive: Glad to see some machine learning. However, Google Now, visually, looks waaayyyy better. Apple may be able to pull things out of 3rd party apps with its “deep linking” but we will see. I really dislike the UI though.
  • Siri is smarter: Will she be have the features I want? It doesn’t look like it but in conjunction with the new natural language search, we will see.
  • No 3rd Party Siri API: Super disappointing but there is a search API with “deep linking” so Siri may be able to tap into that.
  • Siri’s error rate is now 5%: I’ll believe it when I see it.
  • NFC wasn’t opened up: Once again a disappointing move by Apple. I can see why they weren’t in a hurry, but this might have kept me from buying an Android phone next. (Using my iPhone 5s when I want but buy an Android phone with my carrier subsidy to try it out.)
    • There is now a “Share” button when you highlight text: Which is cool but the ‘Share’ menu is still a shitty way to use 3rd party extensions. A contextual menu like Pop Clip would have been way better.
  • ‘News’ App: Like a mix of Zite and The Verge’s website design. (Zite was purchased and shutdown.) Looks cool, I will try it out. (When it comes to my country)
  • iPad Changes: About time Apple did something with the iPad. Split-screen multitasking and picture in picture video are both exciting features.
  • iPad Keyboard: About time they made some improvements to it. Long overdo, though kind of a moot point because we can have 3rd party keyboards.
  • Better support for external keyboards: This will be awesome for me.
  • Battery Life Improvements: Always welcome.
 

Apple Watch

  • Native Watch Apps: Still don’t find the Watch compelling. I don’t think it looks good hardware-wise and I haven’t seen a compelling reason to buy one yet. (Modular watch face is the closest thing to a reason.)
  • Fast Forward: Twist your Watches Digital Crown to fast forward through your day. Really cool idea.
 

Developer Stuff

  • Swift is Open-Source: Awesome, only good things can come of that.
  • Swift 2.0: They spent so little time on this that I am not even sure what’s new yet.
  • Why was it so short?: WWDC = World Wide Developers Conference and they spent barely any time talking about Swift and the dev stuff. WTF
 

Apple Music

  • Streaming Music: Awesome
  • 3 Months Free?: Awesome, I’ll be getting 6 months of music for 99c. (Spotify deal and this.)
  • Social Stuff: Don’t really care.
  • Beats 1: Don’t really care, doubt I’ll use it.
  • Siri integration: The mere fact I can start music with Siri means I will probably use this over Rdio or Spotify.
 

Misc.

  • Natural language search will be awesome: (And something Apple should have been doing for years. Fantastical beat them by a couple years with their natural language calendar event entry.)
  • Apple was all about privacy: They aren’t going to mine our data in the name of privacy. For most people this is a win but for me it’s disappointing. Mine my data, but use it for my benefit, not sell it.
  • Apple Notes: Got better, but I don’t use Notes so we will see if there is any compelling reason to switch some of my notes there.
  • Apple Pay: Don’t care, not available here.
  • No Apple TV Announcement: I want a 3rd party App Store. I want Apple TV to have a microphone and be the center of my home automation. Disappointing we didn’t see anything. (Though I shouldn’t really care, I don’t have an Apple TV in my current house.)
  • Awkward Jokes: Stahp, plese stahp.
 

Final Words

Did Apple live up to my hopes? Kind of. As I’ve said in the past, my hopes don’t really align with where Apple is heading for the most part. I did really like the machine learning Siri Proactive and a few other things but overall it was a year to stomp bugs. They needed to slow their pace and hopefully iOS 9/OS X “Captain Morgan” will be stable, useful OS’s. I saw real improvements to little annoyances and really that’s what this year should be about: pausing, taking stock and fixing their bug issues.


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